The group stage of the 2020-2021 season of the UEFA Champions League is drawing to a close. With just a handful of matches still left to play, it is becoming clear which team of each group will progress to the next one.
The group stage is important in the competition as the teams are fighting relegation. From each group of four teams, two progress to the next stage, one is relegated to the Europa League, and one is eliminated altogether.
While it may be a bit early to predict who wins the competition this season, soccer betting outlets are already doing their job and trying to see the future. Many of them refrain from looking too far into the future of the event given the uncertain situation – but there’s already enough information at hand to predict which teams will progress to the Champions League knockout stage this year.
Two of the four teams in Group A are strong and, as such, favourites: Bayern Munich and Atlético Madrid. The German team is the reigning champion of the Bundesliga, the top-flight German football league, with 29 titles won so far. As you might expect, it has the most points in the group.
Atlético Madrid has finished this year’s La Liga season third after Barcelona and rivals Real Madrid. With six points, it will likely progress to the knockout stage. With one win and three losses, Red Bull Salzburg will relegate to Europa League, and the final team in the group, Lokomotiv Moscow, will be eliminated.
In Group B, the competition is much tighter. Borussia Mönchengladbach is in the lead with 8 points and a +9 goal difference, followed closely by Ukraine’s Shakhtar Donetsk (7 points, -7 goal difference). Real Madrid did a disappointing job in the competition so far, winning two and losing two matches, and Inter Milan will be eliminated from the tournament.
In Group C, Manchester City leads by 3 points ahead of Porto after five matches each, progressing to the knockout phase. Greece’s Olympiacos won just one match and lost four but it’s still ahead of Olympique Marseille by goal difference. The French team will likely be eliminated.
In Group D, Liverpool is leading by four points and +12 goals, followed by Italy’s Atalanta that won two of its matches so far, and only lost one. Ajax Amsterdam, with two wins, one draw, and two losses, is third, and Denmark’s Midtjylland, with no wins, will be eliminated.
Again, a group with a tighter score. With four wins and one draw, Chelsea leads by score and goal difference, followed by Spain’s Sevilla. FC Krasnodar, with just one win and three losses, will continue in the Europa League, while France’s Rennes will leave the competition.
With a lead of just one point, Borussia Dortmund is currently ahead of Italy’s Lazio – the German team won 3 of its matches, losing one, and ending one in a draw, while Lazio won two but hasn’t lost any so far. Brugge, in turn, lost two – and will head over to the Europa League. Russia’s Zenit Saint Petersburg didn’t do well this year, not winning any of its group stage matches – and it will go home.
Group G is led by Barcelona with five of its five matches won, and a goal difference of +14. Second-placed Juventus won four and lost 1, collecting 12 points in the process. Ukraine’s Dynamo Kyiv and Hungary’s Ferencváros both collected one point – the Ukrainian team currently leads by goal difference. The two teams face each other at the time of the writing, so the party to be relegated is still undecided.
Finally, in Group H, the scores are very close. Manchester United, Paris Saint Germain, and RB Leipzig all have nine points after three matches won and two lost each, with the English team leading by goal difference (+6 against PSG’s +3 and Leipzig’s -2). İstanbul Başakşehir is the last-placed team in the group, so whichever team wins, the Turkish one goes home.
And the winner?
Hard to predict. There are many great teams competing for this season’s trophy, and it’s hard to predict which one will be best. But most sources agree that Bayern Munich is the most likely to finish the tournament victorious. As for the rest of us, we’ll have to wait and see.